Nike Inc., recently released an ad campaign commemorating 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” tagline. The slogan was coined in 1988. The ad features some of high profile Afro-American athletes. Odell Beckham Jr., LeBron James, Serena Williams and Colin Rand Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick:

Kaepernick was a US National Football League player and founder of Know Your Rights Camp. He shot to fame in 2016. During an NFL game, he kneeled on one knee while the US National Anthem was playing. Later, his teammates and players from rival teams resonated his concern.


He said that the protest was to address the growing racial injustice in the United States. A precursor to the protest was a spate of attacks on Afro-Americans including police firings that had resulted in several casualties. On November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners. He accused them of colluding to not hire him. He is a free agent now.


In 2017, he received Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. During the Award ceremony, Lonnie Ali in her speech, had drawn parallel between the two Athlete turned civil rights activists. She said that they had undergone severe backlashes and remained in a precarious situation for being civil rights activists during the prime of their career.

A lot at stake:

Most importantly, Kaepernick has lost one year of his professional career with his not so clandestine act. Nike’s decision to include a controversial figure has raised many eyebrows. Many predicted that this particular episode would create a massive dent on Nike’s sales revenue.

Review of sales performance:

According to San Francisco-based Edison Trends, “Nike’s online sales actually grew 31% compared to a 17% gain in 2017”. ‘This has to be seen from a different perspective’. Almost 60 percent of Nike’s sales are from out of North America. Nike is a giant in footwear and apparel segment with a market cap of $130 billion. The combined sales figure touch approximately $40 billion and Nike has an employee strength of 44,000 globally.

Intentions are clear:

We all know that Nike is not free from controversies; particularly, with its own internal administrative problems, child rights abuses, ‘me too’ campaign. But they want to make referendum. A referendum and a public discourse about the values that the country has been founded on; Indeed, they are staying true to the spirit of their tagline.

Image Courtesy: Colin Kaepernick Official Twitter Handle, Nike

Input Courtesy: Wikipedia, CNBC

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